A few days ago a federal judge ruled that Abercrombie and Fitch wrongly fired a woman who insisted, against company policy, on wearing a hijab, or head covering traditionally worn by women in Muslim culture. “So?”, you might say. “Good for her!”, right? “She was standing up for her freedom of religion”. And that’s a discriminatory policy by A&F anyway”…..right? Unfortunately, too many people today would say “right!”, and are furthermore under the impression that their thinking that way is helping to preserve freedom….freedom of the individual to wear what they want….freedom of the individual to practice their religion etc. Unfortunately, they would be dead wrong. I’ll explain in a bit.
A somewhat similar case is working its way through the courts as we speak regarding the Obamacare mandate that requires companies only provide health insurance policies to their employees if they provide contraception coverage. Many private business owners who happen to belong to a sect of Christianity that forbids the use of certain contraceptives are suing the government because this mandate requires them to offer a product that goes against their religion; they say, a clear violation of their religious freedom. Again, a whole lot of people today are saying, “Good! Such companies are forcing their beliefs on other people. They can’t do that!”.
How ironic that in the case of A&F, the left in this country sides with the individual insisting on wearing her hijab, and in the cases of the many people who are suing the government because the government would have them offer a product at their private place of business that goes against their religion, the liberals side with the government. At first glance, it might look like the left is being somewhat indiscriminate in their choosing sides in these cases, and that justice is blind here. However, this unfortunately is just not the case.
In both of these situations, the freedom of the private individual is under attack, all under the guise of tolerance and anti-discrimination. Freedom is simply being attacked in two different circumstances. Take A&F as an example. The woman suing A&F is voluntarily working at a private company that has a particular dress code and motif. She doesn’t have to like it. You don’t have to like it. It’s a private company, and no one is forcing anyone to work there or to shop there. Yet they are being told their freedom to run their company with a dress code is not as important as an employee of the company’s freedom to force the company she voluntarily works for to conform to how she would prefer they run their company! I’m sorry, that’s just not right, even if you disagree with the policy. The government trying to force people to be everything to everyone does not produce freedom, it does just the opposite actually.
A&F could very well have a policy that no beards allowed for employees, or that all facial hair be clean-shaven, or that everyone has to wear ties to work. They could do that. Why couldn’t they do that? They are a private company and you don’t have to like it. That word “private” used to mean a heck of a lot more in the past than it does not, and its one of the things that has separated this country from many others around the world. Too often, it is a dirty word to too many liberals. It was a dirty word to the Soviets too. That’s right, I said it! They told their people, and most of them probably did believe, that we were selfish and evil, as opposed to their form of government where everyone was “equal” and everything was owned by the government and was public, for everyone’s good of course.
Hey liberals, it’s not selfishness, the idea of private property and privacy and some degree of autonomy from government coercion. It’s called freedom! The bottom line should be, you don’t have to work at A&F, and you don’t have to shop there if such a policy offends you personally. That’s America. That’s freedom. Live and let live is how this country used to function. You don’t have to agree with other people, and you don’t have to even like them. People can co-mingle or not as they see fit without a central government telling them if, when, and how, with every little thing they do. A government that controls its people like that is one of outright tyranny, if not at the very least of soft tyranny.
Now however, the order of the day is if something offends someone or is inconvenient to someone, they sue, and more and more, they are winning because of a changing worldview in this country. Contrary to some the opinion of many, the expansion of liberty is not being undergone when this happens; quite the opposite. Everything is everyone’s business today. This is happening for no other reason than that too many people don’t respect privacy like they used to, particularly in regards to business. People don’t respect the rule of law like they used to either; they reinterpret the law as they go, as well as the constitution if it fits their particular wants and goals. The liberal line, which I agree with, that “I may not agree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it”, more and more is becoming outdated today, even though “liberals” would certainly claim to agree with this line.
The same exact thing is happening in the other case I mentioned. Private business is being attacked, and along with it, privacy rights in general. This is about whether we can still act as private individuals or not, business or no business. That is the common thread in both these cases. You see, in the end, people might initially like the idea of the government being an arbiter to force a decision they agree with, especially with things like big business….but in the end, their willingness to cede their freedoms to the government in pursuit of a particular goal is and will open Pandora’s Box, and in the end, there will eventually be nothing but the government fully controlling every decision made by private citizens, business or citizen; something many “liberals” actually want, since equality in their opinion is impossible without such control. That’s just not America.
The problem up until now has been that too many people think freedom is here, here to stay, and that there is no threat of it being taken away. Too many people have grown idle on this front over time. Because of the pervasive progressive influence in today’s culture, many people are starting to misconstrue what freedom even is, much less how to preserve it. Freedom to many people is being able to do what you want and not have anyone tell you what to do. That’s about as far as their understanding of freedom goes. Listening to them talk about freedom is like watching a bunch of little kids telling another bunch of kids to get off their property, and the intruding kids screaming “It’s a free country, I can do what I want!” Freedom is whatever they deem it to be at any given moment, without any constraints, rule of law, or historical perspective. The rule of law in particular, the constitution, is of little concern to them; something ironically crucial to the preservation of a republic like ours if we are to prevent mob rule from one day becoming the order of the day.
More specifically, to the progressive today, if a thing doesn’t promote what they deem to be equity and uniformity, it must be done away with, even if the doing away with that thing runs antithetical to someone’s constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and their reasonable pursuit of happiness. Again, this fact is successfully masked by the demonization of whatever group they decide to use as a platform to from which to acquire power. Their rights don’t exist anymore if the government deems them intolerant or politically incorrect. For them, freedom comes from equity and uniformity. So they gladly sacrifice freedom….for freedom’s sake of course! That is the crux of what freedom is to them, namely, equity. Sorry to say, but if you study Marx, progressives today, and Marx, both have the same understanding of freedom and the common good. Freedom for them is a thing that comes after justice and uniformity are first established; established by any and all means possible. Such an establishment is done with a clear conscience to boot, since its for the people of course.
This “progressive” ideology is alive and thriving in this country, stronger than it ever has at any point in time in the past, despite the apparent victory of capitalism over that of central planning and socialism that has occurred throughout the world the last few decades. Much of the reason for this is this extreme liberal ideology isn’t called its real name. This has been deliberate. And it has worked masterfully over time. Especially, in the shadow of what happened to the Soviet Union, the word “socialist” simply hasn’t been used by people who have in fact been pushing socialist policies. Conservatives and free-marketeers have largely been content since the fall of the Soviet Empire, while for the most part, until recently, the economy has boomed. But behind the scenes, unencumbered, not taken seriously, the spiders have been weaving their webs with great success.
Norman Thomas was right when he said in 1948, “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” People are losing their individual freedoms in this country today, all under the guise of liberalism, more specifically, and ironically, under the guise of tolerance and anti-discrimination. Freedom is being defined by “liberals”, who in reality have been acting in a manner that can only be defined as illiberal, if you use this word in the classical sense.
The more disturbing of these two cases, and the one up until this point I have discussed the least, is the Obamacare contraception mandate. Religious freedom is being redefined by a left in this country who don’t care for religion and who don’t understand religious freedom in the first place. To them, if they deem certain religious beliefs regressive or offensive, they are finding ways to try and purge such practices from society, rather than being truly liberal and tolerant, as they falsely claim to be, and they are making new ground today as a larger and larger percentage of the population is becoming secular. Liberals simply do not understand in the case of religion that even if people are imperfect in their practice of religion, it is wholly unacceptable for truly religious individuals to make exceptions or compromises with their religious beliefs. It’s amazing that because of an increasing disregard for religion, that the left thinks this is possible, and expected.
How it is that so many people out there today think its A-OK to demand that that a private citizen be forced to offer a product that goes against their religion truly disturbs me. That is exactly what is going on here with this contraception mandate. Hobby Lobby is one company suing the government because of this mandate. Now, a person can work at a Hobby Lobby for example, down a bottle of morning after pills every week if they please, and undergo a few abortions a year if they so choose. They can do that and work there, no questions asked. NO ONE is forcing anything on them. They can live as they choose. Hobby Lobby isn’t forcing their beliefs on their employees. How did we get to the point in this country where a company simply saying that since a thing goes against their religion, you aren’t going to get that product from THEM, that’s all, that you can get it, but just not from THEM, that this is wholly unacceptable and can’t be tolerated? How did we get to the point that it is a civil right to get a thing from someone who believes that thing is wrong, and no one is even forcing you to work at that place?
Make no mistake, individualism is being attacked like never before in America, again, under the guise of tolerance and anti-discrimination as cover. People think they are promoting freedom. All the while they are tearing apart our freedom. If there is one thing that I would hope anyone reading this article would take away from it, it would be for them to scroll up and once again read the quote of Norman Thomas. I’ve read the Communist Manifesto, more than once. I recommend people read it. But don’t forget to also read The Road To Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek as a counterbalance. Whether people know it or not, they generally fall into one of a few broad categories or belief. Maybe they think the government is too big, or they think it is too small. There are names for those beliefs, and natural and predictable tendencies that go along with them; names that the left purposefully don’t say out-loud, at least not until their dogma has been firmly enough established among enough people in America. If such a time comes, it is at that time that the cat is going to be let out of the bag and they finally call a spade a spade, when it is too late for us all.